Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Amazing Story

At a recent bris, the baby was named "Refael Pinchas Zev."

Giving a baby one or two names is common. Giving three names is far less common. When I expressed interest in "why 3 names?" I was told by the baby's father, that the baby was being named after his [the baby's] grandfather, a young grandfather who passed away a couple of years ago in his early 60s.

Refael Pinchas Zev's dad then told me his father's story.

"When my father was 44, he suffered a major [malady] which sent him to the hospital. I was a young kid. My sister and I were told "Go say goodbye to your father. He is either going to die; or, if he survives, he'll be a vegetable."

As you can imagine, this was a very difficult thing for young kids to hear.

The family's rabbi was there as well, and he suggested they add a name. This follows an ancient custom that essentially argues that if God has made a decree on "Shmuel," He has not made the decree on "Chaim Shmuel." The hope is that changing the person's name will help give the person a different chance in the workings of the heavens.

But the family did not want to add the word "Chaim" - meaning "Life" - because the doctors had said that if he lives, he'll be a vegetable. Instead, they chose to add the name "Refael" which means "God heals." If the name change "works" we pray that he is healed and gets better.

The catch to the story is that the sick man's mother was involved in saving some member[s?] of the Belzer Rebbe's family during the Holocaust. It was proposed to contact the Belzer Rebbe. Perhaps, in the merit of the deeds of the sick man's mother for the Belzer Rebbe's family, perhaps the Belzer Rebbe could participate in the prayers on behalf of her son.

Contact was made, and the Belzer Rebbe recited the prayer at the Western Wall, changing the name from Pinchas Zev to REFAEL PINCHAS ZEV.

"At the moment that the Belzer Rebbe changed my father's name," Baby RPZ's father says, "my father's vitals improved. He had a complete recovery and was out of the hospital in a fairly short amount of time. And he lived another 19 years."

In general, I am wary of stories like this that come from third party individuals, or from people who heard a story once... But this story is amazing because it comes from a person who witnessed and experienced it. AND it really makes you wonder "coincidence? or power of prayer?" My vote is on the latter.

Of course they gave the baby the grandfather's three-name name. Pinchas Zev no longer existed. It was Refael Pinchas Zev who had the new lease on life. And we certainly wish the new Refael Pinchas Zev to have a very long life, with good health!, bringing joy and nachas to his parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc.

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